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Frank Chopp to retire as Speaker of the Washington State House after 2019 session

State Representative Frank Chopp (D-43rd District; Seattle) announced today that following the adjournment of the 2019 legislative session, he will be stepping down from his position as Speaker of the Washington State House of Representatives while remaining a member of the chamber.

Chopp, sixty-five, has served as co-Speaker (and then just Speaker) for nearly twenty years. He was just reelected to the position again. Here’s his statement:

It’s been an honor serving the state as Speaker since 1999, and to have helped hold the Democratic majority for so many years.

With that majority, we’ve accomplished a great deal for the people of Washington. I’m proud that the House of Representatives led the way on such issues as:

  • Apple Health for All, which provides health care to more than 1.5 million people;
  • Funding basic education;
  • Paid Family Leave;
  • Marriage Equality Act;
  • Voting Rights Act;
  • Dream Act and the Opportunity Scholarship program;
  • Historic investments in the state’s infrastructure and transportation projects that have resulted in tens of thousands of family-wage jobs;
  • The Housing Trust Fund, which has invested more than $1 billion in affordable housing.

Now, I’ve decided it’s time to step aside so that I can focus more energy on the issues that matter most and are priorities for the caucus. I plan to serve as Speaker through the 2019 session to provide an orderly leadership transition, but remain in the Legislature as a representative of the 43rd Legislative District.

It’s been an honor to serve as the state’s Speaker and to work with so many dedicated legislators on both sides of the aisle.

“There are few who work harder and with more heart than Frank Chopp,” said Governor Jay Inslee in a statement. “He has dedicated his career to lifting people out of poverty and strengthening economic security and opportunity for all Washingtonians. Congratulations to one of Washington’s best as he prepares to round out his long and notable career as Speaker of the House.”

Chopp’s statement does not say whether he plans to retire from legislative service entirely after 2020, but he has plenty of time to make that decision.

Chopp’s retirement as Speaker sets up an extremely important leadership contest within the House Democratic caucus for the top position in the chamber.

The caucus — and the state — deserve a bold progressive leader who can build a strong working relationship with Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig, Governor Jay Inslee, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and the rest of the state’s executive department. Who will step forward to seek the job? We’ll keep you posted.


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